According to a recent survey conducted by Houzz landscaping, 80% of homeowners that are improving the exterior of their homes are adding decks or patios. With the high demand for outdoor living space and the warm weather arriving, this could be a great time to add a deck or patio to your home.  Here are a few tips to consider before building your deck or patio:

 Deck or patio

1.  Deck vs. Patio

               Decks are common for homes that are 14” or more off the ground. They are typically elevated platforms made of wood or wood-like material. Decks are ideal for sloping yards or homes that have basement entry’s below.

Patios are built into the ground and can be made of concrete, brick pavers, wood, etc. Patios are more difficult to build because retaining walls must be used so the patio is flat and even.

2. Size

When building a patio/deck, you want to make sure it is the appropriate size. Figure out what you plan to do on the deck/patio. Do you want enough space for an outdoor table? Would you like a fire pit with an outdoor TV? Are you planning on hosting large outdoor parties? Depending on those answers, you’ll want to precisely plan where each item will go and the amount of deck/patio it will take up.

3. Material & Maintenance

When building a deck/patio, consider the architecture and aesthetic of your home. You want the deck/patio to fit into the architecture of your home and you want the material you choose to match the surrounding colors of your home.

Also consider the maintenance that will be required. If you choose wood, it will weather over time. Wood needs to be regularly maintained to prevent warping, rotting, and drying out.  Also, through the years it will require power washing. One positive aspect to wood is that its fairly affordable.  Composite boards are another material that requires less maintenance. Composite boards are a mixture of wood and plastic, and typically care warranties for 20-25 years. They do not fade with the weather and you can clean them will soap and water. While composite boards are slightly more expensive initially, they typically require such minimal maintenance that they balance out the cost over time.

4. Construction

Hiring a professional builder is typically the best option. A professional will correctly construct your deck/patio to meet local codes and requirements. They also have more experience and valuable recommendations. If you choose to construct a deck/patio yourself, do your research and don’t hurt yourself.  

By Anna Hellman

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